Are you feeling overwhelmed by your finals this semester, and unsure of how you're going…
Overall, Montgomery College attracts 50,000 students a year to its campuses Germantown, Rockville, Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Gaithersburg Business Training Center, and Westfield South Center. But have you ever noticed that we seem to have two major age groups represented at MC? If you are an undergraduate and have only taken your required academic courses on the campuses, most of your fellow students are 20-somethings. The average age for undergrads is 24 and one quarter of the students receive Pell Grants. At approximately $5000 annual tuition, 50% of Montgomery County Public Schools graduates who stay in state for college attend MC, demonstrating that MC is an affordable option for many.
But if you have taken any Workforce Development & Continuing Education (WDCE), you might have experienced a wider range of ages in the student population. Within that group of offerings, you will find such practical courses as Lifelong Learning, the Challenge Program (for developmentally disabled adults), Information Technology, Health Sciences, Motorcycle Safety, Youth Programs, Technical Education, Bus Driver Certification, GED classes, and you’ll also find the Community Arts program. In the CA program alone, where the codes start with ADS, ART, FLM, PFA, and SDT, the breakdown by age is very different from that for the credit courses, as shown in the stats below:
- <30: 18%
- 30-49: 16.3%
- 50-59: 11.6%
- 60-69: 28.8%
- 70+: 26.2%
This means that half the students in the CA program are 60 and over.
So now you know that the vast majority of students fall into two major groups: 20-somethings and 60-somethings. Wow, where are all the 30, 40 and 50 year olds? The answer is threefold: a) they’re working and raising families (i.e., no time for continuing education); b) they are on campus but they are the professors and administrative staff (MC has over 20,000 students each semester but only 2000 staff); or, c) they haven’t yet discovered continuing education!
How will COVID-19 change all this? There are too many unknowns for an answer to this question. On the undergrad side, we hope that even more graduating HS seniors will recognize the value of a college education and the percentage who go to college will increase. MC will be a very good option for them. Certainly, we should expect the WDCE offerings to be even more valuable in the near future as persons affected by this crisis need to re-tool with new skills or certifications. People who have perhaps lost jobs might find more time for creative pursuits, further increasing demand.
Either way, from my perspective, Montgomery College is very well positioned to grow and attract more students and excellent faculty as we start to come to a new normal and move on to a better future.
Note: Thanks to John Deamond and Emily Schmidt for their valuable inputs to this story.